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Student Visa Guide

We have seen a sharp increase recently in the number of workers operating on student visas that limit the amount of work then can perform during term time. In most cases, this limits the number of hours to 20 which can cause complications for recruitment agencies when placing a worker but also us as the umbrella company, when ensuring we remain compliant.





As the employer, it is Clipper’s responsibility to ensure that we receive the correct Right to Work (RTW) documentation but also that any restrictions are adhered to. After all, it is the employer that is liable for any contravention.


However, it is imperative that recruiters have done their RTW checks prior to making a placement and have a process for adhering to the various restrictions. Otherwise, a recruiter risks a situation where the worker has performed too many hours and cannot be paid for them.


Below, we explore the details of the Student Visa in a little more detail:


- Firstly, it should be noted that student visas will only allow the worker to complete 20 hours of paid or unpaid work in a week during their term-time. Any additional hours outside these parameters will be discarded. Students will also be able to claim hours that exceed 20 hours a week but ONLY outside of term-times provided by the institution they are with.


- This may seem obvious, but those under student visa’s cannot usually work as self-employed in any field (there is the odd exception). In addition, they will be omitted from certain job roles. Examples of jobs not accepted under the student visa include sportsperson/sports coach and entertainers. Finally, they cannot work in a position that would fill a permanent vacancy (unless the applicant is successful in completing the application for being a skilled worker).


- As mentioned above, there are certain condition which may allow a student to be self-employed. According to the home office the conditions are as follows.


(a) they have applied for permission on the Start-up route; and

(b) that application is supported by an endorsement from a Start-up route endorsing body which is a higher education provider with a track record of compliance; and

(c) the application was made when the applicant had permission as a Student; and

(d) a decision has not been made on the application, or where the application has been refused, any Administrative Review against a refusal has not been finally determined.


So, what are the main takeaways? Firstly, the umbrella company as well as the recruitment agency need to be aware of term-times. Term-times can vary drastically depending on the institution (some start in a January for instance), so it is imperative we receive a letter from their academic institution that outlines the term times for that specific academic course. This should be analysed and cross-referenced to ensure that no assignment or payment exceeds the 20 hour limit during term-time, unless there are exceptions (some courses for example, will allow for full time employment if it is in relation to their course, such as doctors and dentists who are on a recognised foundation programme).


If in doubt, you can always contact the academic institution in question and cross-reference the letter the worker provided.


For any further questions, or if you require any clarification, contact your dedicated point of contact.

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